Stay in the Lines

“Try to stay inside the lines,” said my teacher when I colored the picture of an an apple.

“Stay inside the yard,” warned my mother me when I went outside to play.

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As a people-pleaser and big-time rule keeper, I complied. And that mindset colored my Christian faith. “What are the rules? Where are the lines? What am I supposed to do, Lord, to get into heaven?”

I was in my mid-twenties before I realized I could never be good enough or do enough good deeds to earn my salvation. Imagine the weight off my shoulders to know my salvation was based on God’s grace and Christ’s finished work on the cross. 

However, I still tried to stay in the lines albeit most of them were self-imposed based on man-made rules. I didn’t always love the rules, but I wanted to earn God’s love and approval. I was in my forties before I realized God loves me as much today as yesterday. He loves me not because I’m good, but because God is good. And nothing—not even straying outside the lines—can snatch me out of my loving Father’s hands.

Only to say, I thought I understood freedom in Christ until Heidi sent me an email. She was concerned about me. Was I stuck in a diet mentality? Did I understand freedom? We never talked, but her question had me thinking. What does freedom look like? Am I enslaved to bad eating habits, faulty thinking, and idols that have nothing to do with my weight?

For the first time since I joined TW, I didn’t read the Lesson. I postponed listening to Heidi’s webinar on boundaries.  https://soundcloud.com/heidi-bylsma/webinar-09-boundaries.  

Perhaps that was God’s intervention. Because after a week of straying from TW principles, I realized I was going outside the lines because I have no boundaries when it comes to eating. I just think I do because I refuse to stock my pantry with soda and the junk food that I love.

Left to my own understanding and strength, I’ve lost weight with the help of TW principles, but I didn’t get the whole enchilada…the bigger picture…until I listened to another webinar by Heidi on the benefits of a Grace-Based Approached to Eating. She said, “We lose weight, but grow in character.”

Grow in character? Until now, my God list and Truth Cards had been eye-opening, but I saw them as a secondary benefit to my main goal: LOSE WEIGHT.

Then, Gina recapped Lesson Nine by quoting Jeremiah 2:25, But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'” She might as well have hit me over the head with a watermelon.

Could it be the little girl (me) who grew up learning to stay inside the lines…who wanted the lines so I’d know how to live without fear of retribution or displeasing God and people…is really a rebel at heart? 

Is it possible that avoiding boundaries (or justifying them in favor of what I love) seems like a small thing when it comes to food. But in fact, points to a deeper heart problem

The gracious conviction of the Holy Spirit gave me this major Truth to chew on: I need to lose my rebellious pride and sense of entitlement, more than I need to lose weight.

If I’m ever going to stay in my boundaries while experiencing the freedom in Christ, I’ll need to follow Jesus more closely. And focus on Him instead of the lines.

Photo by: Pixabay

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2 Responses to Stay in the Lines

  1. Carisa Guerrera October 29, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    A good post for me to consider. I am starting to wait longer before I eat something and really making sure I am hungry. Praise God for His soft and gental presence who leads me. I think its taken a lot of practice waiting. But now I ask myself am I really hungry. Social events I still eat a lot, but I need to seek God on why that is, and turn social eating around to 0-5. Its like I fall down I repent and then I seek God what is from my past that I do this. I think it was my Dad constantly forcing food on me and talking a lot about pigging out at social events the Lord reveals to me. In my teen years if I didn’t want to eat, he would make me eat. So I am trying to let go of that mind set and see what God wants! Thank you for letting me share?.

    • Karen Foster November 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

      Carisa,

      I’m so glad you shared about your dad “forcing food” on you when you were younger. I think many folks can trace food issues to the way they were raised.
      Even now…as an older woman, my dad sometimes asks me “is that all you’re going to eat” when I visit him. The boundaries I set ahead of time have helped. Oddly enough, I sometimes find myself saying the same thing to my grown kids and have to “apologize.” ha

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